Machines That Can See Depression on a Person’s Face

It might not be until something seems off that you realize you’re paying attention to the tiniest twitches and scrunches of another person’s face. Humans are hardwired to catalogue and interpret minuscule clues about emotion this way. We find meaning in broken eye contact, a passing brow crinkle, the pause that goes on a beat too long. But how good are people, generally, at discerning how others feel based on the faces they’re making? In 1872, Charles Darwin laid out a case for the universality of key facial expressions in his book, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. “Of all parts of the body,” Darwin wrote, “the face is most considered and regarded, as is natural from its being the chief seat of expression and the source of…

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